Used Car Buying Tips - the road test
Looking at technical used car buying tips, my suggestion is to perform a good road test. It's essential for selecting a vehicle that you'll be happy with. It's a relatively long list, so I'll try to be concise with the elements. Use these tips to help you spot potential trouble.
Try to start with a cold engine, not one that has been running and warmed up. Leave the radio off, and don't converse with others while performing the test drive. You need all of your attention on what you're hearing and feeling.
Also, try to complete this checklist in the order presented, and use common sense and care when operating someone else's vehicle. If you take good care, they won't mind you putting it through the paces.
One last note, this road test checklist of used car buying tips assumes you're driving an automatic transmission vehicle.
___Test start the engine (repeatedly) and listen for irregularities.
___Open the hood and listen for unusual noises.
___With your foot on the brake, slowly shift through the gears, including reverse (a couple of times) and listen for unusual sounds.
___During the test drive, let the car idle slowly along (in a large parking lot) while you make radical left and right turns. Listen for unusual sounds.
___Drive straight on a flat road (without wind) and release the wheel momentarily to check for drift.
___Release the wheel and apply the brakes. Does the car grab or pull to one side?
___Apply the brakes at various speeds to check for "flutter" on the brake pedal.
___A various speeds, concentrate on what you feel. Vibration in the steering wheel is a problem in the front end. Vibration in the seat of your pants is a problem with the rear end of the vehicle. General vibration could be tire balance.
___From a stop, accelerate aggressively and listen for the transmission to change from one gear to the next. Do the same with a gradual acceleration.
___Coast to a stop and listen for the transmission to downshift.
___Listen to the engine while running along at a steady speed to check for rough running or missing.
___Drive close to a wall or solid fence with the window on the wall/fence side rolled down. Listen to sounds from the operating vehicle that bounce off the wall/fence and come back into the passenger compartment.
___After the test drive, leave the engine running and rub your hands in the exhaust to detect excessive moisture from a coolant leak inside the engine.
___Shut off the engine and open the hood to look and smell for leaks.
That wraps up my checklist for a test drive. In my book, the test drive oriented used car buying tips contained in this checklist are most important in terms of assessing the potential for trouble.
Done with Used Car Buying Tips, take me back to Buying Used Cars